As a blogger, it’s common to go through different seasons of creativity. There are, of course, the times in which you feel positively invincible. You find yourself so full of ideas that you can’t even begin to implement them all. But then there are tougher seasons, ones in which coming up with new content feels like pulling teeth. Suddenly, all of your ideas seem trite or weird or just plain nonexistent, and while you can’t be certain, you’re pretty sure someone stole your brain in your sleep. I mean, it’s the only logical explanation.
Since successful blogs depend on consistent and fresh content, it’s natural to panic a bit when your mind seems to be on vacation. But allow me to assure you: your brain hasn’t been stolen. It’s still in there sloshing around, I promise. You have had great ideas in the past and you will have great ideas again. And even though creative blocks happen, it’s totally possible to work your way back to your invincible-blogger-self. In fact, it actually doesn’t have to take as long as you might think. If you’ve run out of blog post ideas, here are some quick ways to get the magic back:
Become a diligent note-taker
You know all of those brilliant ideas you have as you’re going about your day? The ones that make you think, “Oh, I should make a note of that,” but then you get sidetracked and NEVER ACTUALLY MAKE A NOTE?! It’s time to finally start writing that stuff down. The good, the bad, the weird – make notes of every blog post idea you have throughout your day. This way, you’ll have inspiration available to you whenever your brain starts to fail you. Obviously, you can go old school and carry a notebook, but for me, the Notes app on my iPhone has become my best friend.
Related: How I Organize and Plan Blog Posts
Read like crazy
My favorite piece of writing advice comes from Stephen King, and I actually think it applies perfectly to blogging, too. He says: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” You already know that it’s important to blog regularly, but if you’re feeling sapped of post ideas, it may be time to feed your creative brain with some straight-up blog scouring. Obviously, this does not mean that you should steal someone else’s content because, ugh, that’s awful. Instead, start subscribing to blogs that leave you feeling inspired. Also, pick up a book. It does the brain good.
Remix your old posts
One thing that may be halting your creativity is the fear that you are repeating yourself. You may have tons of ideas for new posts, but unfortunately, they look a lot like things you’ve already shared on your blog. But hey, don’t let that stop you! You can always approach a topic from a different angle OR you can simply expand it further. This is SO okay and honestly, totally normal. You may have posted about something a year ago that you now have a completely new take on. Or perhaps you learned something new about an old topic. Go back through your posts and see if there is something there that you can reconstruct.
Mindmapping is my go-to activity whenever my brain feels fried. If you’ve never mindmapped before, here’s how it works: start by writing a broad topic, possibly your blog’s niche, in the center of a page (ex: small business development). Then draw branches out from that central idea to several subtopics (ex: growing an audience, utilizing social media, creating quality products, etc.). Continue branching out from those subtopics and pay attention to areas of your map that start to become particularly detailed. This practice is especially helpful in turning your half-ideas into fully formed ones.
Consider a “life/brand update” post
Your readers come to your blog because, well, they like you. Sure, they love the incredibly useful content you deliver, but they also like your writing voice, your sense of style, the effortless way in which you repurpose a mason jar – whatever it is there is to dig about you, your readers are digging it. And when you like someone, it’s common to want to know what they’re up to. That being said, if you haven’t given an update on your life or business in a while, now might be a good time. Here’s an example of a recent one on this blog.
Write the post that scares you
If you’ve been blogging for a while, I’m betting there is a post you’ve wanted to write, but you just haven’t gotten around to it. It kind of floats in the back of your mind, but when you actually think about creating it, you feel slightly uneasy. Maybe the subject matter is a little controversial or maybe it’s a post that requires a bit more research than you are used to doing. Whatever the case, my recommendation is this: write the damn thing. In my experience, those ideas that you just can’t seem to shake are often the ones that best represent who you are. Even if it makes you sweat, just write it.
Get up. Walk out the door. Live a little.
Diverse life experiences are the most powerful catalysts for creativity. If you are feeling particularly lacking in blog post ideas, it may be an indicator that you’ve fallen into a bit of rut. Perhaps you find yourself focusing on the same things daily or maybe you are just so busy that your mind feels clouded. If that’s the case, try prioritizing new experiences. Get out there and see the world. Go to a museum, take a class, volunteer, etc. Wake up your tired brain by adding adventure to your life, and I promise you, you will start to feel those wheels turning again.